Dairy heifer growers study the latest in getting and keeping dairy heifers pregnant
“Studying artificial breeding tips from the Show-Me-Select Beef Replacement Program was the goal of the Show-Me Dairy Heifer Growers Association’s educational workshop held in Lebanon in August," said Joe Horner.
“We had two knowledgeable speakers who had valuable information for heifer growers,” said Horner, a member of the Commercial Agriculture dairy focus team at the University of Missouri. “They were David Patterson, MU Extension beef specialist, and Scott Poock, our new Commercial Agriculture veterinarian.”
“David introduced the Missouri Show-Me-Select Heifer Replacement Program in 1997,” Horner said. “Over 80,000 heifers have now gone through the program. It has gained national recognition and a number of Show-Me-Select heifer sales are held in various Missouri areas annually.”
Currently, David is concentrating on using timed breeding to reduce the labor needed to artificially breed large numbers of synchronized heifers.
Using these protocols, producers in the Show Me Select program are breeding all their heifers at once and getting the same pregnancy rates as producers who spend more time and energy detecting heats and breeding heifers one at a time. This really makes AI breeding more practical for contract growers and dairy producers, Horner continued.
Kent Haden, veterinarian and vice president for MFA livestock operations, is currently working with Patterson in developing a timed artificial insemination and Haden has said “I’m convinced that AI is the least expensive way to breed a cow herd.”
Scott Poock is the new Commercial Agriculture dairy veterinarian, having joined the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri last winter.
“Scott has 18 years experience working as a practicing dairy veterinarian in Wisconsin specializing in working with large dairies. He is rapidly becoming acquainted with a large number of individuals in the Missouri dairy industry,” Horner said.
For his part on the program, Poock said that “dairy herds losing more that 5% of their pregnancies have a problem.” He discussed diseases that frequently cause abortion problems in the dairy herd and recommended vaccination protocols to prevent such diseases.